How to prepare for your wedding day photos
Most couples start planning a wedding a year or more in advance and great photos start with those very early decisions. Choosing a venue that lends itself to great photos is the first step to getting the most out of your wedding photography. You are looking for a venue that if possible has a variety of vignettes that would make for great backgrounds. Those can be; vegetation, interesting architectural elements, large nondescript areas of color (like a red or blue wall), interesting textured surfaces and places with options for elevation like hills or steps. The more interesting the venue, the less you will need to decorate it. In the planning stage of the wedding, it is important to decide what images are important to you and your fiancee and then budget time for creation of those images. Most couples underestimate how quickly the day will go by and in how many different directions they will be pulled. Surprisingly, you will have little or no time alone on your wedding day. So unless you allow time for those romantic photos you may regret missing the opportunity.
It may sound odd but hiring a good wedding coordinator may also make for better photos. The reduction in stress on the wedding day because you have someone to take care of all those last minute details cannot be underestimated in the overall look you will be presenting to your family and friends. Will you be calm and relaxed or will you be stressed about engraved napkins and cellist that can't find the church?
Second thing you can do is choose the right wedding clothes. Don't underestimate the time you will be in a dress or suit (or for that matter shoes) mobility and your longevity should be consider along with what will be flattering on your body type. Given the very real fact that dark colors are slimming and light colors add weight in photos, the bride is already at a disadvantage based on tradition so selecting a dress that can minimize or maximize your body as needed can be very helpful. Often a lace up dress has more structure than a zip up style as well there is more room for fluctuation if your target size is different from your current size.
1-6 months before the wedding, its time for an engagement session. The engagement session provides a chance for you to get comfortable in front of the camera and it lets me get a better sense for what you are like as a couple, how you move and interact with each other as well as what type of images you will like to see from your wedding day. A wedding with no engagement session is like baking without preheating the oven.
One week before the wedding, avoid changing hair color or tanning (spray or outdoor) and avoid changing cosmetics or skin treatments.
A few days before the wedding, time to start drinking lots of water (helps keep the skin looking its best). For the guys, when picking up rental items be sure to check the bags for all needed items (pants, ties, cufflinks, etc.).
Day before the wedding, as you check into your hotel (assuming that is where you will be getting ready), treat the room like you will have company. You may not be able to control what that room looks like, but do your best not to trash it. Make the bed, put trash in the trash can and use the closet and drawers for your clothes... unless you like that "lived in" look then feel free. For the bride, you will want to have your make-up and hair last that day so the tendency is for the bride to be the final person in line for hair and make-up, this can create an issue if any of the ladies before you have problems. My recommendation is for the bride to be the second to last to ensure there is ample time for the beautification. Do your best to get a good nights sleep.
Wedding day, try to avoid driving (have someone drive you if possible) your mind will not be on the road and your risk of being in a accident is much greater. Remember to eat (protein is good because it lasts), stay hydrated and relax. Assuming you have hired the right team of people your wedding day will be a smooth fun filled day (see note about coordinator above).
After the wedding, typically I will post a few teaser images on social media within 24hrs (excluding destination weddings). 2-3 weeks after the wedding in most cases the images will be ready for viewing, either as an in studio premier or from an online gallery. Additional items like prints or albums vary in delivery time depending on product.
Remember, a great wedding is made from the sum of its parts. Choosing wedding professionals that share your vision is crucial to having the wedding of your dreams.
If you need referrals for any one, be sure to check my list. I see people week after week and this is a very small list of the most consistently great professionals.